Gibbon, near here, was the site of a unique experiment in homestead colonization. The Soldiers' Free Homestead Temperance Colony was responsible for bringing the earliest settlers, mostly Union veterans, to this locality. Traveling via the Union Pacific Railroad, the first group arrived April 7, 1871, when the only building was a small section house. They lived in railroad boxcars until sod or frame homes could be built. Their first view of the area was not encouraging, since a prairie fire had recently swept the region, and two days after their arrival a blizzard struck. Still, of 129 families only one failed to file a homestead claim. As you travel east, you will parallel the Nebraska City-Fort Kearny Cut-off which joined the main Overland Trail near here. This freighting trail, in operation from about 1860-1869, was designed to speed travel between the Missouri River, frontier military posts, and Denver. It offered a more direct route than the earlier Ox-Bow Trail which looped north to the Platte Valley. Freighting over the Cut-off peaked in 1865 when 44 million pounds of supplies were shipped west from Nebraska City.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & Settlers • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Nebraska State Historical Society series list. A significant historical date for this entry is April 7, 1871.
Location. 40° 44.805′ N, 98° 50.719′ W. Marker is in Gibbon, Nebraska, in Buffalo County. Marker is on 2nd Street near Court Street (Nebraska Highway 10C), on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Gibbon Heritage Center, Gibbon NE 68840, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. First Buffalo County Court House (a few steps from this marker); Memorial Tree (a few steps from this marker); The Soldiers Free Homestead Colony (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Nebraska Centre - Boyd Ranche (approx. 1.3 miles away); In Honor of D. E. "Mac" McGregor (approx. 2.8 miles away); a different marker also named Gibbon (approx. 2.8 miles away); Joseph E. Johnson and the Huntsman’s Echo (approx. 6.2 miles away); Shelton Pioneers (approx. 6.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gibbon.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . . History of Gibbon, Nebraska. (Submitted on December 17, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
1. Location change
The marker used to be in the eastbound Interstate 80 Gibbon rest area but was moved here when the rest area was closed in 2005.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 17, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 424 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 17, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.